The Mind Tries to Define The Universe

In the self-sufficiency of our mental development, we study the workings and laws of Nature, we examine the origin of the universe through our astronomical prowess, we dissect living things down to their genes and chromosomes, we take apart atoms to find out the basis of material existence. And at the end of all this analysis we pronounce certain things as “laws” of nature, and dismiss anything that does not fit into our now neatly defined view of the universe and the way it functions, as being unreal, impossible or illusory.

The question we must face, however, is whether the limited and finite capabilities of the human mind can actually effectively understand or grasp the infinite universe. Sri Aurobindo describes the issue this way: “The Self-existent is the Infinite and its way of being and of action must be the way of the Infinite, but our consciousness is limited, our reason built upon things finite: it is irrational to suppose that a finite consciousness and reason can be a measure of the Infinite; this smallness cannot judge that Immensity; this poverty bound to a limited use of its scanty means cannot conceive the opulent management of those riches; an ignorant half-knowledge cannot follow the motions of an All-Knowledge.”

It is in fact reckless to try to judge of the Infinite with laws based upon our limited capabilities. Everything we understand is clearly bounded by borders beyond which our knowledge becomes useless, or misleading. Until we recognize the limitations of our knowledge, we shall never be able to discover ways of Knowing that give us a real understanding of the Universal Being and Existence. As Sri Aurobindo stated in another context: “When we have gone beyond all knowings, then we shall have Knowledge. The intellect is the helper, the intellect is the bar.”

reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pg. 327 and Sri Aurobindo, Thoughts and Glimpses

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